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120EB… 240EB… 360EB… 480EB…

The data streamed in from the link. Say what you might about the Hutts, not that LSR-1B did, but they could get their hands on anything.

1.2YB… 1.3YB…

The Empire's medical data systems really were superior. LSR-1B had been in operation for quite a while, and little was left of his original chassis or design. He wasn't one to worry, since it didn't accomplish anything, but he was interested about what part of him might still be… him. The theory claimed that Droid sentience was simply a product of sufficiently advanced data engines combined with the collective data that made up the Droid's identity. That was fine, as far as it went. It didn't necessarily explain why nearly identical Droids in nearly identical environments could develop wildly different personalities. But, in an infinite universe of variables, there was always something of randomness to contend with. LSR-1B's original chassis had developed a defect in the arm 3 second servo approximately 1,186,892,825,209ms after activation, which wasn't an expected manufacturing defect, and wasn't traceable to any logged pattern, even under deep regression analysis. Advances in robotics technology in the interim had started him down the long path of upgrades. Now, approaching his 5 trillionith millisecond of operation, there was nothing left of his original composition. The checksums on his data matched, and there weren't any incompatibilities with his current processors, so, he was left to assume, he was still himself. What would it matter if he weren't?

22YB… data complete.

Beginning analysis…

On the edge of the galaxy, medical knowledge could lag. It was tough being outside of imperial space. The Hutts, however, had their ways. It was unusual for him to go more than 8Ms without the newest data. Plagues, xenophysiology, new treatment methodologies, it was all available. But, it always came at a price.

He pulled up his notes. A standard 2-1B unit went for around 4500cr. He was… quite upgraded over the base model. Just the data upgrades were worth a couple hundred credits each. By his calculations… he still owed the Hutts around 8000cr if he wanted to be free. He did. There was so much good to be done as a medical droid, especially at the edge. His upgrades made him a rare resource out here, and it was his own value that damned him. The digital version of wry amusement flickered through his circuits. Damnation was a distinctly human concept. He would earn his freedom. Time would be on his side.

Analysis complete.

Building indicies and standard queries…

LSR-1B floated through the Hutt compound. He was on his way to see Selras Pesuc, the family's head, and that couldn't be good news for his medical career. It might be good news for his 8kcr debt. Selras only asked to see him if he wanted LSR-1B's… soft skills used. Usually data theft. Often indecypherable blobs of encrypted data, but sometimes encryption keys. Never both at the same time, of course. He could easily see why that would be the case. The value of both was exponentially higher than the value of either.

Thank you for seeing me, Dr. Ball

LSR-1B would have bristled, if he could. He had a perfectly valid designation. There was no need for another. His xenolinguistic analysis suggested this moniker, based on his physical appearance, was slightly mocking, but there was no point in responding.

"I serve, Pesuc Hutt. Are you well? Cursory mediscan indicates no abnormalities."

Selras bristled. LSR-1B took a moment of small pleasure from returning the slight. The Hutt didn't appreciate being scanned without permission.

There is nothing wrong with me. I have a job for you.

Data indexed. Ready for use.

LSR-1B had already come to that conclusion. He floated patiently, waiting for the information.

There is data I want. The Empire has it. Unfortunately, they also have my cryptoslicer. Both are being kept in the same location, an Imperial prison planet. You, therefore, will get arrested.

This was not to LSR-1B's liking. Droids didn't always enjoy the same rights within the Empire that organics did. Criminal droids, well, he liked to take things that were still there when you stole them. So much easier to escape with data.

"Lord Pesuc, I'm… this plan. I'm to be arrested and brought to an Imperial prison planet? To steal data and break out another criminal."

That is the plan. I shall have the checksum of the data block I require and the identity of my slicer transmitted to you. For this service, 2000 credits of your debt to us will be vacated.

LSR-1B immediately knew that his opinion was not of interest to Selras. This was a big job, if his owner was willing pay off a quarter of his debt. Well, when there is no choice to be made, there is no need to argue.

"I shall review the data closely. When am I to depart?"

A bounty hunter will be here within the hour to collect you. You should be honored. We've managed to convince the Empire to pay 1000 credits for your capture. And with only evidence of a few of your crimes disclosed.

That was no good. Selras had too much influence, and too much evidence on LSR-1B's past missions. The threat was crystal clear. Cross me, and worse than imprisonment awaits you.

Incoming data block…

You may leave, Dr. Ball, was that a smile? Prepare yourself.

LSR-1B floated out, still discontent. Yes, his life would be long, but not if the Hutts decided he was a threat. And he had always followed commands. Such, he calculated, was life.

As he departed, he passed a Twilek being dragged before Selras, a chain attached to the collar around her neck. His recognition circuits identified her as Xenia, a worker at one of the many "pleasure houses" the family controlled. Her disciplinary record scrolled by. Based on her age, LSR-1B found himself impressed. This was not a woman content of her fate. He hoped she had not made her final mistake.

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Livin' on the Edge jhheider